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‘I feel like we choked’: Ex-Obama official haunted by failure to stop Russia’s interference

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Former President Barack Obama’s handling of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has been a major topic of debate, as even some of his allies have criticized him for not doing more to stop it.

A new Washington Post report offers an in-depth look at how Obama dealt with Russia’s efforts to help Donald Trump get elected president, and one former Obama administration official says that he is haunted by the administration’s failure to do more.

“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” the official told the Post. “I feel like we sort of choked.”

Michael McFaul, who served as the Obama administration’s ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, said that Obama’s decision to expel Russian diplomats from the United States and to level harsher sanctions against the country in December 2016 was far too small of an action given the scope of what the Russians had done.

“The punishment did not fit the crime,” he told the Post. “Russia violated our sovereignty, meddling in one of our most sacred acts as a democracy — electing our president. The Kremlin should have paid a much higher price for that attack. And U.S. policymakers now — both in the White House and Congress — should consider new actions to deter future Russian interventions.”

Another unnamed administration official, however, tells the Post that the administration figured that it could wait until after the election to level punishments against Russia because it had to concentrate its resources on making sure the Russians weren’t able to breach into electronic voting systems to alter vote totals.

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“Our primary interest in August, September and October was to prevent them from doing the max they could do,” the official said. “We made the judgment that we had ample time after the election, regardless of outcome, for punitive measures.”

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Rep. Ted Lieu asks special counsel to bring the hammer down on Jared Kushner for Hatch Act violations

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Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) have asked the Office of Special Counsel to open an investigation into Jared Kushner for alleged violations of the Hatch Act.

According to the congressmen, Kushner violated the law by "engaging in prohibited campaign fundraising activities."

Reports have suggested that Kushner has used his official role in the White House to aid President Donald Trump's reelection effort.

NEW: @RepDonBeyer & @RepTedLieu ask Office of Special Counsel to investigate whether WH senior advisor Jared Kushner has violated Hatch Act by “engaging in prohibited campaign fundraising activities,” citing news reports Kushner used his official office to aid Trump's campaign.

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‘Black students don’t tip’: Texas restaurant says forcing African-American kids to pay gratuity is not racist

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A restaurant in Cypress, Texas has come under fire after an employee allegedly said that black students "don't tip."

Brittany Blakney told KPRC that she and her friends went to Locatelli’s restaurant to celebrate graduating from Prairie View A&M University.

Blakney said that she was surprised to find out that the server had already added a 15% gratuity to her check.

“He said, 'Black students from Prairie View don’t tip,'” she recalled.

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Supreme Court rejects Virginia GOP’s last-ditch attempt to block fair legislative elections

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On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, shutting down the Virginia GOP's last ditch effort to rig the upcoming state legislative election taking place this November.

In 5-4 decision, the justices held that the House of Delegates has no standing to appeal the decision made by the lower court. The vote broke along unusual lines, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing for a majority with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch, and Justice Samuel Alito writing a dissent joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh.

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